A frugal lifestyle is sometimes viewed as a miserable life. But if you ask those who have been applying frugality in their lives for the longest time now, you will realize just how happy they are. Contrary to what you may believe, being frugal is not about depriving yourself of the fun things in life. It will actually help you enjoy life without compromising the important expenses that you have to finance. Not only that, it will also eliminate the need to use your credit cards just to finance the things that you enjoy doing.
So if you really want to learn how to be frugal but you are discouraged by the seemingly lack of funds for having fun, don’t be. All it takes is an effective budget and some creative thinking to help maintain your entertainment activities while following a frugal lifestyle.
Budgeting for fun activities
When you have a budget, it is easier to see where you can cut back so you have money for your fun activities. It will certainly be less extravagant than before. However, you don’t have to completely eliminate it – even with a frugal budget.
In creating your budget, make sure you give room for your entertainment. If you have a lot of things to pay for, you can save a little here and there to build up the funds that you will need to support your fun activities. Having a budget will give you a general overview of your expenses. You can shift things here and there.
Some people make the mistake of removing fun activities and that is a big blunder on their part. That contributes to the reason why they give up eventually. If you really have to save, do not concentrate on the entertainment things. You can save money on food, groceries, gas, clothing and other necessities too. You can even downgrade your home if you like. What will you do with a big home if it means you don’t get to eat out or watch movies? Why not downgrade to save on your rent? You will also save on your utilities because you don’t spend as much in a smaller home as you did with a big one.
If you are having trouble starting a budget plan, you can always get help online. There are budget calculators and templates like those from About.com. There is also a detailed frugal budget form in FrugalVillage.com that you can use. In both calculators, you can see that they have an entry for entertainment activities. That should prove to you that frugality does not eliminate the fun out of life.
Entertainment activities you can still enjoy despite frugality
Fortunately for you, there are various activities that you can do that will not cost you too much money. Let us discuss three of the costly yet most basic entertainment activities that we love to do.
Dining out. Cooking at home is still a winner. You get to save and make sure that your family is eating healthy. However, there are times when you just want to enjoy being served with good food. When that time comes, take note of these tips to help keep your costs at a minimum.
Share your meals. Instead of getting one dish per person, why not get three or two big servings? In most cases, you get to save more. If you are dining with your kids, they sometimes tire of their food and if you order one whole dish for them, it can go to waste. Just order for everyone and share the food.
Just drink water. Skipping that soda or fruit beverage will reduce your bill. Just get the free drinks.
Be aware of promo nights. Some restaurants hold promos like giving free meals to kids for every two adult orders or something similar. Take advantage of these offers. Also, if you are planning a girl’s night out, make sure you schedule it during ladies’ night to get some discount on your tab.
Clip coupons. Of course, clipping coupons will always save the day. Keep an eye out for those coupons and you should be able to save on a dish or appetizer.
Movies. Watching movies is also something that we love to do but for $7-$8 a ticket? That is too much for a frugal budget. Here are some tips that you can use to enjoy the movies without really putting too much dent in your wallet.
Get free tickets. This is a long shot but you can join radio contests and something similar if you really want to get free tickets. Grocery stores and other merchants can also give these away so look out for these opportunities.
Try to watch on weekdays. Compared to weekends, the price is more reasonable if you do it during the week.
Drive in movies. Have you ever tried drive in movies? They are not as expensive and they make for some unusual movie dates.
Buy tickets in bulk. You can also buy your tickets in bulk. Bulktix.com is a great way to start your search. Of course, this is really applicable to those you love to watch movies.
Going on dates. It may be that you want to impress that new girl or you want to keep the love alive in your relationship or marriage – going on dates do not have to be expensive. Here are some ideas for cheap yet memorable dates.
Stargazing. This is probably one of the most romantic and cheapest way to spend the night with someone. Grab a blanket and a basket of goodies and drive off to a cliff or park. Lie on the ground, snuggle with your special someone and just go stargazing. It can be very relaxing too.
Cook dinner at home and watch your favorite movie in the couch. Sometimes, the best dates happen at home. Make use of your kitchen, impress your partner with a home cooked meal and then snuggle in the couch to watch your favorite movie.
Visit local museums or historic places. If you have a thing for cultural dates, this is something worth exploring.
Bike or hike in your local park. Nature lovers and sporty ones would love to follow the trail in your local park. That should be a great way to bond.
These are only a few of the things that you can do to keep on enjoying your life despite your frugal budget. Just remember to check on your budget plan to see how much you can afford to spend. If you need a little more money, just save up for it.